Who is vulnerable?

Children from all kinds of backgrounds can become radicalised. Here are some of the common factors to look out for that make young people vulnerable to radicalisation.

It’s important to know the factors that make your students more vulnerable to radicalisation. The following is a guide only, so use your professional judgment to assess students’ vulnerability.

  • Struggling with a sense of identity
  • Becoming distanced from their cultural or religious background
  • Questioning their place in society
  • Family issues
  • Experiencing a traumatic event
  • Experiencing racism or discrimination
  • Difficulty in interacting socially and lacking empathy
  • Difficulty in understanding the consequences of their actions
  • Low self-esteem

Any of these issues make children more susceptible to believing that extremists’ claims are the answer to their problems.

External factors play their part too, such as: community tension, events affecting the country or region where they or their parents are from, or having friends or family who have joined extremist groups. Exposure to one-sided points of view all contribute to the process of radicalisation.

Those young people involved with criminal groups, or who have found it difficult to reintegrate after being in prison or a young offender institution, may also be at risk.


A downloadable booklet for school leaders about how to safeguard against extremism in your school, produced by Educate Against Hate.

A link to quickly and anonymously report online material promoting terrorism or extremism.

Lesson plans, student resources and teacher briefings on topical issues relating to fundamental British values, citizenship and equality.

Teaching materials for pupils from year 6 to year 13 for teaching and practising dialogue and encourage critical thinking, plus practical guidance on managing difficult discussions.